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Windows Performance Monitor – Configuring the Display

Performance Monitor has quite a few configuration options. In this blog post I’ll cover the following:

  • View Types
  • Configuring the views

View Types

There are three display options – Report, Line and Histogram.

Perfmon 03 - Figure 01 - Three View Types

Figure 1 - Three View Types

To switch between the views, select the graph type button drop down and select the preferred view.

Perfmon 03 - Figure 02 - Switching between views

Figure 2 - Switching between views

Report View


Perfmon 03 - Figure 03 - Report View

Figure 3 - Report View

The report option is useful as it shows all the numerical values for all the selected counters. This can be really helpful when you have a lot of counters that you are understand at the same time. One nice thing with report view is that you don’t have to worry about adjusting scaling like you do on the line view.

Histogram View

Perfmon 03 - Figure 04 - Histogram View

Figure 4 - Histogram View

This view is useful when displaying multiple instances of the same counter in order to see their relative differences. This performance monitor is setup to show the various name processes that are running on the machine and the percent of processor time that each one is using. The histogram is able to show you how much impact each process is making relative to the others.

Line View

Perfmon 03 - Figure 05 - Line View

Figure 5 - Line View

The line view is the typical view that you use with performance monitor. This displays a line on the graph for each counter that you are monitoring. Each counter is auto scaled when you add it to the monitor and a color is selected. The line view is used to show trends that are occurring over time. It can also be used to visually correlate the changes in several counter values to each other. One challenge with the line view is that if you have many counters in the monitor it can be hard to distinguish between the lines.

Configuring the Views:

To configure the perfmon display, either click the properties button or right click on the chart and click properties.

Perfmon 03 - Figure 06 - General Tab

Figure 6 - General Tab

The general tab will allow you to set the sampling rate and the graph duration.

The sampling rate affects all three views (Histogram, Report and Line). For the histogram and report, the sampling rate will affect how often the values in the view are updated. For the line view, the sampling rate will affect how often new data is added to the graph.

The graph duration will affect the x axis on the line graph. The default is 100 seconds. I will typically change this to 600 seconds (10 minutes) if am in doing live performance troubleshooting. This will allow me to make changes and see the effects of the changes before and after the change.

Perfmon 03 - Figure 07 - Data Tab

Figure 7 - Data Tab

The data tab allows you to add or remove counters. For each counter you can choose the color to display in the line graph and the histogram view. Width of the line and the dash style will also adjust the display.

Perfmon 03 - Figure 08 - Graph Tab

Figure 8 - Graph Tab

The Graph tab allows you to select the view that is displayed and alter general settings of the view. The scroll type “Scroll” add new data to the far right of the screen and scroll all the historical data to the left, dropping the oldest data off the edge. The “Wrap” setting will keep a bar moving across the screen at the point of the current data. When the bar makes it to the right side of the display it will wrap to the left and start the lines at that point.

Perfmon 03 - Figure 09 - Graph with Grid Lines

Figure 9 - Graph with Grid Lines

The vertical grid and horizontal grid will add lines to the grid to help in interpretation of the numbers. The axis labels will add or remove the x and y axis labels.

Tagged With: How-To
John Puttman

Written by John Puttman

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